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Ballot Access News

CNN Poll for Republican Presidential Race Has Three Candidates Tied for Tenth Place (July 1, 2015, 04:56 PM)

On July 1, CNN released a poll for the race for the Republican presidential nomination, showing that three candidates are tied for tenth place at 3%. If polls continue in this vein, it will be very difficult for Fox, the sponsor of the August 6 Republican presidential debate, to decide who is in their chief debate (although Fox has already said it will have another debate for those not in the top ten but who are at 1%). See this story. Fox says the top ten candidates will be in the chief debate.


U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham Says it is ?Ridiculous? to Use Poll Results to Decide Who May Debate (July 1, 2015, 02:46 PM)

On June 30, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) at a press conference said it is “ridiculous” for debate sponsors to use poll results to decide who may participate in debates. See this story. One wonders if he would express the same principle relative to general election debates.


Proportional Representation Enters the ?Fix California Challenge? Contest (July 1, 2015, 02:30 PM)

A California non-profit 501(c)(3) organization called “Innovate Your State” has set up a “Fix California Challenge”, in which California voters are able to read about, comment upon, and vote for, ideas to improve California government. One of the proposals is to elect at least one house of the California legislature using proportional representation. Steve Chessin, president of Californians for Electoral Reform, wrote the proposal, which can be read here.

Californians who register with “Innovate Your State” can vote on this proposal, or any proposal. After one is signed up, large arrows appear above and below the vote tally. A vote is cast by clicking on one of the arrows. The proposal went up on July 1 and so far it has five “yes” votes.


Jill Stein Already Working on Qualifying for Primary Season Matching Funds (June 30, 2015, 11:17 PM)

Jill Stein, the Green Party nominee for president in 2012, received primary season matching funds on August 28, 2012. The funds were helpful to Green Party ballot access costs and other campaign expenses, but they would have been more helpful if they had arrived earlier.

This year, Stein is already working to qualify. If she raises $5,000 from each of 20 states, soon enough, she could potentially receive federal matching funds on January 1, 2016. So far she has already received enough contributions from California, and is over halfway for Washington, New York, and Massachusetts.


South Dakota Newspaper Story about Successful Referendum Petition Aimed at Bad Ballot Access Law (June 30, 2015, 08:18 PM)

The Argus Leader of Sioux Falls, the largest newspaper in South Dakota, has this story about the referendum drive that attacks SB 69. SB 69, signed into law earlier this year, made restrictive changes for ballot access. As a result of the referendum petition’s success, the law won’t be in effect in 2016 and voters will decide whether to repeal it.


Kentucky Republican Gubernatorial Nominee Voted for Constitution Party Presidential Candidate in 2004 (June 30, 2015, 06:30 PM)

Kentucky holds a gubernatorial election on November 3, 2015. The Republican nominee is Matt Bevin. According to this story, some time ago Bevin told various people that he voted for Michael Peroutka for President in 2004. Peroutka was the Constitution Party nominee.


New Jersey Legislature Passes Bill to Make Voting and Registration Easier (June 30, 2015, 06:22 PM)

On June 29, the New Jersey legislature passed AB 4613, which provides for early voting, online voter registration, and automatic registration for everyone who obtains a state drivers license or ID.


New Study Shows that Listing Candidates Alphabetically Helps Those Whose Surnames Come Early in the Alphabet (June 30, 2015, 05:25 PM)

Professor Barry Edwards has published this study which shows that when states list candidates on the ballot in alphabetical order, those whose surnames start with letters near the beginning of the alphabet are more likely to be elected. Thanks to Election Administration Reports for the link.


June 2015 Ballot Access News Print Edition (June 30, 2015, 02:34 PM)

Ballot Access News
June 1, 2015 – Volume 31, Number 1


This issue was printed on white paper.



Table of Contents

  1. THREE PENNSYLVANIA BALLOT ACCESS RESTRICTIONS STRUCK DOWN
  2. CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT WON?T HEAR TOP-TWO CASE
  3. OKLAHOMA BALLOT ACCESS BILL SIGNED
  4. NEVADA BALLOT ACCESS BILL PASSES
  5. NEW MEXICO LOSS
  6. SIXTH CIRCUIT UPHOLDS MICHIGAN BALLOT ACCESS LAW
  7. COURT CLEARS WAY FOR TRIAL ON GEORGIA BALLOT ACCESS
  8. OHIO REPUBLICAN PARTY SPENT $300,000 TO KEEP LIBERTARIANS OFF IN 2014
  9. U.S. SUPREME COURT ACCEPTS CASE ON TEXAS REDISTRICTING
  10. LAWSUIT NEWS
  11. LEGISLATIVE NEWS
  12. BOOK REVIEW: THE SOCIALIST PARTY OF AMERICA
  13. MULTI-PARTY PAST OF US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
  14. WORKING FAMILIES PARTY NOMINEE WINS NEW YORK LEGISLATIVE SEAT
  15. BERNIE SANDERS APPEARS TO JOIN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY
  16. CANADIAN POLL SHOCKER
  17. DEBATES COMMISSION ASKS FOR PUBLIC COMMENT
  18. BRITISH ELECTION
  19. FOX NEWS SETS RULES FOR FIRST REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE
  20. PUERTO RICO PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY
  21. SUBSCRIBING TO BAN WITH PAYPAL

THREE PENNSYLVANIA BALLOT ACCESS RESTRICTIONS STRUCK DOWN

On March 2, U.S. District Court Judge Stewart Dalzell, a Bush Sr. appointee, struck down three Pennsylvania ballot access laws. Green Party of Pennsylvania v Aichele, e.d., 2:14cv-3299.

Notarization of petition sheets: Pennsylvania has long required each petition sheet to be notarized. The plaintiffs, the Green Party and the Libertarian Party, challenged this requirement on the basis that it costs a large amount of money to get each sheet notarized. Pennsylvania notaries charge $5.00 per sheet. The plaintiffs argued that their statewide petitions, which usually need 30,000 raw signatures, require the expenditure of thousands of dollars in notary fees.

The decision uses the precedents that say mandatory filing fees are unconstitutional, to conclude that notarization also requires a form of mandatory filing fees and therefore the notarization requirement is unconstitutional. In addition, the decision says that there is no evidence that notarization is really needed for any purpose. If the petition is not challenged, elections officials accept it as valid. If the petition is challenged, the challenger then compares the signatures on the petition with the signatures in the statewide voter registration files. In either event, the notarization serves little purpose.

The number of states that require ballot access petitions for parties and candidates to be notarized has steadily shrunk. Back in 1984, 23 jurisdictions required notarization, but now only 14 states require it. States that still require it, other than Pennsylvania, are Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Texas, and Virginia.

Jurisdictions that have abandoned the requirement are Arkansas, District of Columbia, Iowa, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Washington, and Wisconsin.

This is only the second decision to strike down notarization. The first was a North Carolina case filed by the Libertarian Party, McLaughlin v N.C. State Board of Elections, 850 F.Supp 373 (1994). The basis for that decision was that the state only required notarization for newly-qualifying parties, but did not require it for any other type of petition, so the court used Equal Protection to strike it down. North Carolina did not appeal that decision.

The U.S. Supreme Court seemed to consider notarization in American Party of Texas v White in 1974, but said that the plaintiffs didn?t present evidence that the notarization requirement was burdensome, so left the Texas requirement in place.

Judge Dalzell technically did not strike down the Pennsylvania notarization requirement, because he interpreted the Pennsylvania law not to require it. The state law says the circulators are "affiants", and generally an "affiant" is someone who appears in front of a notary. But the judge said that isn?t necessarily so. However, he said if the law does require notarization, then it is unconstitutional.

He said his ruling (for all three laws he struck down) only applies to the Green Party and the Libertarian Party. Assuming the ruling isn?t reversed on appeal, though, it would be easy for any other group to depend on this precedent and get its reach extended. The state hasn?t said whether it will appeal. It need not reveal that until June 11.

Signing for multiple minor parties: Pennsylvania law says a voter can only sign one general election petition per office. This was also struck down.

In Pennsylvania, major party members who want to run in a party primary also must submit petitions. The opinion says that the state doesn?t prevent major party voters from signing for one primary candidate and then voting for some other candidate for that same office in the primary. Therefore, because major party members have the ability to support more than one candidate for a particular office, it follows that voters who support minor parties and independent candidates should have the same freedom.

Besides Pennsylvania, 21 other states limit the number of petitions a voter may sign: Arizona, California, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. This list shouldn?t be taken to mean that all types of petitions are restricted. For instance, in Oregon, voters can?t sign for two new parties, but they can sign for multiple independent candidates for the same office.

Out-of-state circulators: this is the third restriction that was struck down. This part of the decision was not surprising, because on July 31, 2014, Judge Dalzell had enjoined that law. However, last year, he had not enjoined the other two laws described above.

He issued another part of his opinion on May 11, upholding the law that doesn?t permit signers from different counties on the same sheet.

The March 2 decision upheld the law that says only registered voters (as opposed to people who aren?t registered but who could register) can sign. Also, his March 2 opinion said there is no need for him to rule on two other restrictions, because the state has already said it won?t enforce them: (1) the state will no longer print on the form language that says circulators must live in the district; (2) the state will no longer force signers to fill in the year, in the blank in which they show the date.


CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT WON?T HEAR TOP-TWO CASE

On April 29, the California Supreme Court refused to hear Rubin v Padilla, S224970. This is the case that challenged the California election law that forces all voters to either vote in the general election for the two candidates who did best in the June primary, or not to cast a ballot at all.

As a result, California voters now have fewer choices in the election itself than the voters of any nation in the world that holds elections, with the sole exception of North Korea, China, and Vietnam. Even Washington, which has a system similar to California, allows write-ins for all office in November.

The California Supreme Court once had a proud record of protecting voting rights for all voters. In 1942, it struck down laws passed by the legislature in 1940 and 1941, banning the Communist Party from the ballot. It was the only state court in the U.S. that took such an action. All other state courts that considered such laws, including the state courts of Arkansas, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington, either upheld such laws or ducked the question. Finally they were all invalidated by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1974, in Communist Party of Indiana v Whitcomb.


OKLAHOMA BALLOT ACCESS BILL SIGNED

On May 12, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed HB 2181, to lower the number of signatures for a new party from 5% of the last vote cast, to 3% of the last gubernatorial vote. The bill had passed the House on May 6 by a vote of 83-0.

As a result, the 2016 Oklahoma requirement drops from 41,242 to 24,745. Oklahoma still has the nation?s highest percentage for presidential ballot access; all other states have some procedure that is at or below 2% of the last gubernatorial vote.

In 2016, a presidential candidate running outside the major parties can now get on the ballot in all 51 jurisdictions with support from approximately 562,000 voters. The exact number can?t be known until early 2016. By contrast, in 2012, support was needed from 639,345 voters. The reasons for the easier hurdle in 2016, compared to 2012, are ballot access improvements in Oklahoma, California, and Virginia; and also the lower turnout in 2014 compared to 2010 means that the formula for the number of signatures in some states caused some requirements to drop.

North Carolina now requires 16% of all the signatures needed to get on the ballot in all jurisdictions, even though North Carolina only cast 3.5% of the 2012 presidential vote. North Carolina requires 89,366 signatures, the largest number required in any state for president in 2016.


NEVADA BALLOT ACCESS BILL PASSES

On May 22, Nevada SB 499 passed the Assembly. It moves the petition deadline for newly-qualifying parties from April to June, and moves the non-presidential independent candidate petition deadline from February to June. Now the bill goes to Governor Brian Sandoval. If it is signed, the Green Party?s pending lawsuit against the deadlines will be moot.


NEW MEXICO LOSS

On April 30, U.S. District Court Martha Vazquez, a Clinton appointee, upheld New Mexico?s petition requirement for independent candidates of 3% of the last gubernatorial vote. Parker v Duran, 1:14cv-617. The plaintiff was an independent candidate for Public Education Commission, a partisan office, in district 4. The decision was not too surprising, because the same judge had denied him injunctive relief last year. He was the incumbent. As a result of his being kept off the ballot, the only candidate on the ballot was the Democratic Party nominee.

Alabama and New Mexico are the only states that require statewide independent candidates to submit a petition more difficult than 2% of the last vote cast. New Mexico has never had an independent candidate on the ballot for statewide office other than President.

The plaintiff argued that there can?t be a good reason to require him to submit a petition signed by 3% of the last gubernatorial vote, because if he had been a member of one of New Mexico?s four ballot-qualified minor parties, he only would have needed a petition signed by 1% of the last gubernatorial vote. He submitted 1,379 signatures. His requirement was 2,196, but the minor party requirement was only 732.

The decision fails to mention four of the five precedents that say states cannot require independent candidates to get more signatures than minor parties. Judge Vazquez did mention Lee v Keith, an Illinois decision, but she said that precedent doesn?t apply because the Illinois petition deadline was too severe. The cases she did not mention are Danciu v Glisson from the Florida Supreme Court, DeLaney v Bartlett, a U.S. District Court decision from North Carolina; Patton v Camp, a U.S. District Court decision from Alabama, and Greaves v State Board of Elections, another North Carolina U.S. District Court case. The plaintiff, will probably appeal.


SIXTH CIRCUIT UPHOLDS MICHIGAN BALLOT ACCESS LAW

On May 20, the Sixth Circuit ruled that Michigan does not violate the Constitution by requiring approximately twice as much support for a new party to get on, than for an old party to remain on. Erard v Michigan Secretary of State, 14-1873. The decision is eight pages and does not identify the judge who wrote it. The judges on the case are R. Guy Cole and Ronald Gilman (Clinton appointees), and Jeffrey Sutton (a Bush Jr. appointee). The panel had not held an oral argument and the decision won?t be published.

Michigan requires 31,519 signatures for a new party to get on the ballot, but in 2014 only required an old party to poll 16,491 votes for any statewide race. Michigan always has at least 7 statewide partisan races every two years, so it is very easy for an old party to remain on the ballot. The state recognizes the Republican, Democratic, Libertarian, Green, Constitution, and Natural Law Parties. The plaintiff is associated with the Socialist Party.

The decision does not mention the two precedents that say states can?t require more signatures for a new party than votes for an old party: Williams v Rhodes, and Baird v Davorem.

In Williams v Rhodes, the Supreme Court said one reason the Ohio law was unconstitutional was that new parties needed a petition of 15% of the last vote, but old parties needed a 10% vote to stay on. In the Baird Massachusetts case, the court struck down the law that said nominees of unqualified parties needed a petition of 3% of the last gubernatorial vote, but old parties could remain on if they polled one-tenth of 1% for Governor.

Michigan and Kansas are the only states that require more signatures for a new party than votes for an old party. The plaintiff will ask for reconsideration.


COURT CLEARS WAY FOR TRIAL ON GEORGIA BALLOT ACCESS

On May 19, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Story, a Clinton appointee, issued an opinion in the ballot access lawsuit filed in 2012 by the Green and Constitution Parties. Green Party of Georgia v Kemp, n.d., 1:12cv-1822.

The lawsuit challenges the Georgia law that requires approximately 50,000 signatures for the presidential nominee of an unqualified party to get on the ballot. The decision says that the requirement is not unconstitutional on its face, but permits a trial to show that the law in practice is so restrictive that it is unconstitutional. The law requires a petition of 1% of the registered voters. No presidential petition has succeeded in Georgia since 2000, when Reform Party nominee Pat Buchanan qualified. The Libertarian Party has been ballot-qualified for statewide office in Georgia since 1988, so it hasn?t had to petition for president.

Georgia requires each petition sheet to be notarized, and no notary is permitted to circulate the petition. Shopping centers in Georgia need not permit circulators on their property, and it is difficult for circulators to find good petitioning spots. Even Americans Elect did not qualify in Georgia in 2012, despite the group?s vast financial resources.

Originally Judge Story had upheld the law without a trial, but the Eleventh Circuit had then remanded the case back to him for more fact-finding.


OHIO REPUBLICAN PARTY SPENT $300,000 TO KEEP LIBERTARIANS OFF IN 2014

On May 19, some Ohio campaign finance records were released which show that in 2014, the Ohio Republican Party paid a law firm $300,000 for its services last year in keeping the Libertarian Party gubernatorial candidate off the ballot.


U.S. SUPREME COURT ACCEPTS CASE ON TEXAS REDISTRICTING

On May 26, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Evenwel v Abbott, 14-940. The issue is whether the "one person, one vote" principle contained in the 14th amendment should be based on the number of people living in a district, or the number of people who are eligible to register to vote. The plaintiffs live in two Texas State Senate districts in which the number of actual voters is twice as high as the number of actual voters in certain other State Senate districts.

The general understanding before this case was accepted is that states are free to use either population, or the number of eligible voters, when they draw districts for U.S. House and state legislature. Usually states use population. The case will be argued in the fall of 2015. If the Court sides with the Texas voters who filed the case, it is likely that every other state would also then need to redraw its U.S. House and legislative districts.

Other states in which the redistricting plans are under court attack (for other reasons), and which might require redistricting later this year or early next year, are Alabama and North Carolina. The North Carolina Supreme Court will hear Dickson v Rucho on August 31. A three-judge U.S. District Court in Alabama will have all briefs in Alabama Legislative Black Caucus v Alabama filed by August 7, and will then either issue an opinion or schedule oral argument. The basis for both cases is whether too many African-American voters have been squeezed into a small number of districts.

If Alabama, North Carolina, or Texas, are forced to redistrict before the 2016 election, that will have favorable ballot access implications. All three states have early petition deadlines for new parties and independent candidates, but if new districts are created, they will be required to have later 2016 deadlines.


LAWSUIT NEWS

Arizona: on May 7, the Libertarian and Green Parties asked the Ninth Circuit to rehear Arizona Libertarian Party v Bennett, 13-16254. The issue is the registration form that only lists the two largest parties with a checkbox. If a voter wants to register into any other qualified party, the voter must check the "other" line and write-in that choice.

Arizona (2): on May 20, a U.S. District Court upheld Tucson?s system for electing city council members. Primaries are conducted by letting members of each party within each ward choose a nominee. But in the general election, all the party nominees run at-large. Public Integrity Alliance v City, 4:15cv-138.

Florida: on April 29, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a rule that does not permit anyone running for judge to ask for a campaign contribution. Williams-Yulee v Florida Bar Association, 13-1499. The vote was 5-4. The opinion was written by Chief Justice John Roberts. The plaintiff was not a judge, and she had sent a mass e-mail to thousands of people, asking for a campaign contribution.


LEGISLATIVE NEWS

Alabama: on May 21, the legislature passed SB 240, which moves the primary for all office from the second Tuesday in March to the first Tuesday in March. As a result, the petition deadline for new parties and non-presidential candidates will now be one week earlier, and will be March 1 in 2016.

California: AB 372, the bill to force write-in candidates who place second for Congress or partisan state office in the primary to pay a filing fee after the primary is over, has been withdrawn until next year.

Florida: on May 15, Governor Rick Scott signed SB 228, which lets people register to vote on-line. The outcome was somewhat surprising, because the Secretary of State, who is a gubernatorial appointee, had urged a veto.

Minnesota: on May 22, the Governor signed SF 455. It sets a one-year limit for a group to complete the petition to qualify a new party.

Oregon: on May 18, the House passed HB 3475, to implement the National Popular Vote Plan.

Texas: HB 464 and HB 3080, the bills to require minor party nominees (who are nominated by convention) to pay a filing fee, failed to pass.


BOOK REVIEW: THE SOCIALIST PARTY OF AMERICA

The Socialist Party of America, by Jack Ross, Potomac Books, an imprint of the University of Nebraska Press, 2015, 753 pages.

The book?s introduction starts with this paragraph: "The Socialist Party of America was the most important minor political party in the history of the United States in the twentieth century."

"Other minor parties, including one or two in the Socialist Party?s own lifetime, performed more impressively at the polls and had a more spectacular short-term impact ? but the Socialist Party was unique in the history of American politics as a minor party that enjoyed a consistent level of support, a wide-ranging impact, and a respected place in the national conversation for a half-century. For more than a decade before the First World War it was widely assumed that the Socialist Party was destined to become a permanent fixture on the national political scene. Even as late as the 1930s, there were similar high expectations for the party in some new form."

Other histories of the Socialist Party, or biographies of Eugene V. Debs and Norman Thomas, already exist. But this is the first book to give a complete history of the party, starting with the earlier socialist parties that preceded it, and which continue to the present day. It is the only history of the party that lists all its elected officials, and all the party?s national officers, through time. One of the appendices includes information about each of the party?s presidential election returns, showing the counties that gave the party its best showing.

More importantly, the book shows why the party never became a major party, even though parties with the same ideas did become ruling parties in many other advanced countries. Also, to an amazing extent, it shows how figures who participated in the party or its various off-shoots became highly influential, especially in civil rights, the labor movement, and foreign policy, even in the last few decades.

Anyone who has worked to build a political party that challenge the Republican and Democratic Parties will find the book a very good read. Even though the book is 753 pages, I read it within one week and enjoyed every hour.


MULTI-PARTY PAST OF US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

The chart below lists the minor parties that elected nominees to the U.S. House of Representatives 1828-1948. The eight elections in which only the two major parties elected someone are not listed. The chart shows that during the 61 elections 1828-1948, all but eight years saw the election of at least one minor party nominee.

The chart does not list independents. For candidates who had the nomination of a major party and a minor party, they are listed if they were members of the minor party and if the state did not separate out the votes cast on each party line. If the state did separate out the number of votes cast on each line, then the minor party member is not listed if his or her major party vote was greater than his minor party vote. That is why Vito Marcantonio, an American Labor Party member, is not listed for years before 1948. He is listed for 1948 because the ALP won the 1948 race with votes cast on its line alone.

YEAR

MULTI-PARTY PAST OF US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

1828

Anti-Masonic (5)

1830

Anti-Masonic (17), Nullifiers (4)

1832

Anti-Masonic (25), Nullifiers (9)

1834

Anti-Masonic (16), Nullifiers (8)

1836

Anti-Masonic (7), Nullifers (6)

1838

Anti-Masonic (6), Conservative (2)

1842

Law and Order (2)

1844

American (6)

1846

American (1)

1848

Free Soil (9), American (1)

1850

Union (10), Free Soil (4), States Rights (3)

1852

Free Soil (4)

1854

American (51)

1856

American (14)

1858

Anti-Lecompton Democrats (8), Americans (5)

1860

Union (28), Constitution Union (2)

1862

Unconditional Union (16), Union (9)

1864

Unconditional Union (13), Union (5)

1866

Conservative (2)

1868

Conservative (5)

1870

Liberal Republican (2)

1872

Liberal Republican (4)

1878

Greenback (13)

1880

Greenback (10), Readjuster Demoratic (2)

1882

Readjuster (4), Greenback (2)

1884

Greenback (1)

1886

Labor (2), Greenback (1)

1888

Labor (1)

1890

Peoples (8)

1892

Peoples (11), Silver (1)

1894

Peoples 9), Silver (1)

1896

Peoples (22), Silver Republican (3), Silver (1)

1898

Peoples (5), Silver Republican (2), Silver (1)

1900

Peoples (5), Silver Republican (1)

1910

Socialist (1), Progressive Republican (1)

1912

Progressive (9)

1914

Progressive (6), Socialist (1), Prohibition (1)

1916

Progressive (3), Socialist (1), Prohibition (1)

1918

Prohibition (1), Union-Labor (1)

1920

Socialist (1), Prohibition (1)

1922

Farmer-Labor (2), Socialist (1)

1924

Farmer-Labor (3), Socialist-Progressive (1), Socialist (1)

1926

Farmer-Labor (2), Socialist (1)

1928

Farmer-Labor (1)

1930

Farmer-Labor (1)

1932

Farmer-Labor (5)

1934

Progressive (7), Farmer-Labor (3)

1936

Progressive (8), Farmer-Labor (5)

1938

Progressive (2), Farmer-Labor (1)

1940

Progressive (3), Farmer-Labor (1)

1942

Progressive (2), Farmer-Labor (1)

1944

Progressive (1)

1948

American Labor (1)

This chart lists the years in which a party, other than the two largest parties, elected someone to the U.S. House. Source: Ken Martis, "Historical Atlas of Political Parties in the US Congress."


WORKING FAMILIES PARTY NOMINEE WINS NEW YORK LEGISLATIVE SEAT

On May 5, New York held a special election for Assembly, 43rd district. The Working Families nominee, Diana Richardson, won with 52%. This outcome was not too surprising because the Democratic nominee had failed to get on the ballot, due to missing a deadline. Richardson defeated the nominees of the Republican Party and the Independence Party, and an independent candidate.


BERNIE SANDERS APPEARS TO JOIN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY

On April 28, Senator Bernie Sanders said he will seek the Democratic nomination, even though he is an independent. U.S. parties in the past have nominated non-members for President or Vice-President, and at first Sanders did not say he was giving up his independent identity. But on April 30, on his FEC report, he filled in the question "Party affiliation" as "Democratic Party." He did this because the New Hampshire Secretary of State had said he would not let Sanders on the Democratic ballot unless Sanders became a Democrat. Sanders could have defeated this ruling, with help from the Democratic Party. In 1986 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states cannot ban parties from nominating non-members, so the party and Sanders could have sued. Also New Hampshire permits write-ins in presidential primaries, and both Lyndon Johnson in 1968 and Henry Cabot Lodge in 1964 won a New Hampshire presidential primary on write-ins.


CANADIAN POLL SHOCKER

A Canadian poll released May 26 shows that the Conservative Party and the New Democratic Party are virtually tied, each with 30% of the vote. The New Democratic, has never before been thought of as a party that might form the national government.


DEBATES COMMISSION ASKS FOR PUBLIC COMMENT

On May 18, the web page of the Commission on Presidential Debates posted a form that asks viewers to comment on policies of the CPD, including the hot issue of who should be invited into the debates. Go to debates.org and choose the feedback form. Only one entry per computer is permitted. After anyone comments, he or she can print what has just been submitted.


BRITISH ELECTION

At the British May 7 election, the Conservative Party won 51% of the seats even though it got only 37% of the popular vote. The Labour Party won 36% of the seats with 31% of the popular vote. The Scottish National Party won 9% of the seats with only 5% of the popular vote. The Liberal Democratic Party won 1% of the seats with 8% of the popular vote. UKIP and the Green Party each won only one seat, even though UKIP got 13% of the popular vote and Greens got 4%. These results have prompted renewed calls for Britain to switch to proportional representation.


FOX NEWS SETS RULES FOR FIRST REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE

Fox News will host the first Republican presidential debate on August 6, 2015. The Republican Party declined to formulate any rules on which candidates should be invited, so Fox determined that it will invite the ten candidates who are the most popular, as determined by polls.


PUERTO RICO PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY

Puerto Rico will hold Republican and Democratic presidential primaries on March 13, 2016, the first ones in Puerto Rico since 2008.


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South Dakota Referendum Petition for Ballot Access Law Has Enough Valid Signatures (June 30, 2015, 12:04 PM)

The South Dakota Secretary of State has determined that the referendum petition concerning this year’s ballot access bill has enough valid signatures, so the voters will vote on the bill on November 8, 2016. The bill, SB 69, was signed into law earlier this year. It makes ballot access worse for newly-qualifying parties, independent candidates, and candidates seeking a place on a primary ballot.

Because the referendum petition has enough valid signatures, the law it challenges won’t go into effect for 2016. The AFL-CIO and the South Dakota Democratic Party did most of the work of collecting the signatures. The requirement was 13,871 signatures, and the campaign submitted 16,819.

Coincidentally, the ACLU is suing over one provision of SB 69, the part of the bill that moves the petition deadline for newly-qualifying parties from March 29 to March 1. It seems somewhat likely that the state will now try to persuade the judge to put a freeze on the lawsuit until after the November 8, 2016 election. However, there is at least one precedent from Ohio that says challenged ballot access restrictions are ripe for a court decision, whether that law has been subject to an upcoming referendum or not.

It is also possible the 2016 session of the South Dakota legislature will amend or repeal SB 69. In the recent past, the Arizona and Ohio legislatures repealed restrictive election laws after the legislators learned that the voters had forced a referendum. The legislators in those two states preferred to repeal their own laws rather than face the possibility the voters would reject those laws.


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Ad: History Posters! - History of the Union Army


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